“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth forth his handiwork.” And this is the time of the year when this glory is so manifest as the earth begins again to blossom, a magnificent delight I’ve been part of for sixty one years. And it gets more delightful each year as I am more attentive to this unfolding and conscious that a parallel unfolding is present in my heart and life.
We can worship God, find attunement with Him, in so many ways. We can worship him formally with other people in organized religion, we can worship Him in work and play, we can worship him in psalm and hymn, and we can worship him in careful attention to the beauty of his natural world. And “attention” is a critical word for I think early in our life we learn to put blinders on and live with only cursory awareness of our world, including even our own body, by the way. So, when the beauty of Spring graces us each year, we see it and note, “How pretty” but do so in that cursory fashion without any real attention. The Buddhists would use the term “mindful” to describe this careful attention. And this is not to stare at a flower or bird like some zombie and zone out into some alienated bliss. It is simply to be “aware” from time to time each day.
I would like to share with you a couple of poems by a soon-to-be friend of mine who has this “mindful” awareness. She is Sue Coppernoll who is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister living in Northwest Arkansas. My wife has known her for a couple of years and I’ve become familiar with her poetry through her. And later in this month I will get to meet her. But she has allowed me to share these two beautiful poems with you, poems in which she echoes the observation of T. S. Eliot that “April is the Cruelist Month” in reference to natures vicissitudes.
The Very First Day, Again
Sunlight streams through slats
In blinds on the window
Birdsong blends with gentle breeze
No Fool she,
April has come to the mountain.
Wild pear, hyacinth, tulips and forsythia
Wreath hills and hollows in glorious array.
Mocking Bird atop the tallest tree
(a redbud about to burst)
Presents her eclectic performance as a gift
To all who would hear – and welcome –
The magic of her songs.
“Get up,” her command issues forth.
“Walk in the grass.
Inscribe your dreams
Upon the cathedral of the sky
With the fingertips of your heart.”
April, who has come to the mountain
Awaits you there
In the splendor of rebirth and renewal
Her hand outreached in welcome
She beckons you to join the dance of life.
Susan Starburst Coppernoll
1 April 2013
Dialogue with April Second
Where’d you go?
Has April left the mountain?
Cloud cover obliterates visions of spring,
Tulips and daffodils bend their heads to the ground,
Battered youngsters in a sea of mud.
How so perfidious, lovely one?
Have you no constancy, no shame?
Birdsong falls silent in the dark of noon,
Yearling rabbits do not parade across the garden,
Squirrel chatter disturbs not our ears.
Whither your promise, April?
Are you gone from us, or hiding?
Lungs eager for respite gasp in the cold air,
Arms prickly with chill reach for a comforting cape,
Feet return to shelter of rain boots.
Do you hear our lament, cruel month?
Shall we cling to anticipation of your return?
Warmed by a glorious glimpse of Earth’s ripening,
We bow in supplication, we nurture in the caverns of our hearts
Dreams of yesterday’s joy, tomorrow’s delight.